Jerry Neitzell, 1939-2018
Published 1:00 am Wednesday, October 3, 2018
Funeral services for Jerry Lee Neitzell of Ellendale will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at United Methodist Church in Ellendale. Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday at United Methodist Church, and also one hour before services Saturday. Interment will be in Geneva Cemetery. Military honors will be accorded by the Ellendale veterans organizations. Bonnerup Funeral Service in Ellendale is assisting the family.
Jerry died Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018, at Marys Hospital in Rochester. He was 78.
Jerry Lee Neitzell was born Oct. 31, 1939, in Maple Island, the son of Olive Ethel (Smith) Neitzell and James “Jay” Phillip Neitzell. His childhood was spent roaming the woods in the Maple Island area, attending Congregational Church in Hollandale and flying many combat missions with his sister, Beverly, in their fighter plane made of peach crates nailed to an old stump.
He attended elementary school in Hollandale and high school in Albert Lea.
On May 29, 1956, he married his childhood sweetheart, Lily Harpel. Shortly after, he enlisted in the United States Air Force, where he served honorably for four years. He did his basic training in San Antonio, Texas, and was stationed in Biloxi, Mississippi; Thule, Greenland; and Tacoma, Washington, where he worked as a radar systems specialist. When he left the service, he worked on the Air Force base in Port Austin, Michigan, as a civilian specialist. He worked for Mayo Clinic in the service department before settling into an engineering position with GE Medical, where he worked for 25 years, specializing in vascular imaging technology. His expertise in this field took him all over the world, servicing the machines that saved countless lives. He retired in 1996, but continued to work as a training consultant.
Jerry had many hobbies throughout his lifetime, including camping, fishing, waterskiing, photography, hunting, woodworking, golfing, reading, working on his computer and enjoying time with his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Jerry was a master craftsman — there was nothing he could not build. Jerry was always willing to lend a helping hand to anyone who needed it — from installing light fixtures to helping people with computer issues. He was a wonderful friend and will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
Jerry is survived by his wife, Lily; children Rhonda (Loren) Nelson and Roger (Ninette) Neitzell; grandchildren Randi Sather, Rachelle (Ryan) Robinson, Haylie (Dan) Heil, Hope Neitzell, Hannah Neitzell, Emily Neitzell, Jeremy Neitzell and Ashley Neitzell; and great-grandchildren Amadeus Neitzell, Mila Neitzell, Atlas Neitzell and Sophie Robinson. In addition are several step-grandchildren and their families, including Lorraine (Jeff) Leigh, Justin (Tammy) Nelson, Terry Nelson, Jason (Jillian) Sather, Elizabeth (Matthew) Larson, Eric (Cameron) Roeske, Chad Roeske, Nicholas (Roeske) and Joshua (Christie) Huebner. He is also survived by his sister, Beverly; many nieces, nephews and cousins; as well as his beloved cat, Missy.
Jerry was preceded in death by his parents Olive and Jay Neitzell; in-laws Vivian and Orville Harpel; son, Lee Neitzell; infant twin daughters, Pamela and Paula Neitzell; brother-in-law, Eber Harpel; sister- and brother-in-law Darla and Rudy Janka; in-laws Ramona and Daryl Anderson; and brother- and sister-in-law LaVern and Kate Neitzell.